US Department of Energy

FEMP Publishes Aspinall Courthouse - Case Study

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Courtesy of US Department of Energy

The Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) announces the publication of Aspinall Courthouse: GSA’s Historic Preservation and Net-Zero Renovation.

This case study documents the effort of the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) to take the unprecedented step of renovating a historic Federal building to accomplish twin goals of net zero energy use and faithful historic preservation. The Wayne Aspinall Federal Building in Grand Junction, Colorado, is a three-story, 41,562-ft2 office building that was constructed in 1918 and functioned first as a post office and courthouse. It currently houses nine Federal agencies.

In 1980, the Aspinall Courthouse was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. By 2009 it was nearly slated for disposal because it required extensive repairs to address a long list of deficiencies, including poor lighting, windows that had been covered, low-hanging ceilings, and poor ventilation and indoor air quality. GSA simply could not cover the cost of these repairs. However, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act authorized $15 million in project funding, which enabled GSA to change course. The agency was able to carry out major renovations to this stately structure—changes that restored or preserved many of its historic features and included significant energy efficiency upgrades.

GSA‘s goal was ambitious: to create its first net zero historic renovation. The Aspinall Courthouse has achieved Zero Energy Building D status, meaning that it conserves energy through energy-efficiency measures and generates energy through renewable systems sited on the building and through the purchase of renewable energy credits. The improvements included:

  • Efficient electrical and mechanical systems
  • A geothermal heat pump
  • Efficient lighting
  • Advanced metering and building controls
  • A thermally enhanced building envelope
  • A solar photovoltaic roof system
  • Restored architectural features
  • Restored original artwork.

The Aspinall Courthouse renovation was completed in January 2013 and has proven to be a model of energy efficiency and sustainability. It has garnered certification as a LEED Platinum building and won several awards, including Best Rehabilitation/Renovation/Restoration Project from the Design Build Institute of America and the ASHRAE Region III Technology Award First Place for 2014.

The case study includes details about the renovation process, the historic preservation, specific energy efficiency measures, as well as measurement and verification of the building operation. For more information, contact Sarah Jensen.

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